While I didn’t receive a direct invitation from HRH Prince Harry and newly-Duchess Meghan, I did have a whirlwind of fun joining 100,000 others outside of Windsor Castle to accompany the couple on their historical day. (And while I somehow wasn’t invited to their intimate reception, I did get photos of the beautiful newlyweds. In one, Harry and I are definitely making eye contact! — Read on!)
It is difficult to describe the day and all its details as anything other than a fairy tale.
If you’re having a bad day, I’m here with proof to remind you that fairy tales are real, The Prince & Me is real, American women really are meeting foreign princes and marrying to make the world a better place.
For me, the day was crazy (probably exactly the same as how Clooney and Oprah felt getting ready to attend!). I landed in London at 7am yesterday, 5 hours before the wedding commenced. From there I met my mom at the airport, went to our hotel, and walked to Windsor Castle by 10:00am.
We walked in a current of people to The Long Walk (the long driveway leading up to the Castle). And to my pleasant surprise, the English made such a fun party out of it, even outside! In the lush green grass and overhanging trees, there were the most sophisticated food trucks, procesco and sunshine to home all of us supporters as we found spots near the road to see the royal couple in person!
Finally, at just pass 11:45, the car carrying Meghan and her mother rushed by us! (Apparently, she was running late!) The crowd release a chorused “ahhh…” after seeing her for half a second (see my blurry photo below!), but we kept our spirits high from the tangible energy that was pouring out of the castle and down to us on The Long Walk.
In addition to the food trucks, mobile bars, and countless news reporters, they had giant screens set up for us loyal subjects to watch what was happening so close by! It was a surreal feeling seeing her right in front of me and then seeing her on the screen getting married!
The ceremony was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced! I spent most of my anticipation on witnessing a historic royal event, I forgot I was at a real wedding with two people so giddy in love! The crowd was ooh-ing and aww-ing and cheering at their sincere, nervous, romantic words and glances.
When the Archbishop asked, “Will you, the families and friends of HARRY and MEGHAN, support and uphold them in their marriage now and in the years to come?
The whole crowd yelled, “WE WILL!”
(Us Long Walk people think a little higher of ourselves than we probably should.)
Not only do real American girls meet and marry real princes, but they really do add modernism to the monarchy and hope to the world! Their ceremony was full of symbols and messages of, not only their love for each other but of the kind of world they want to help create through their marriage. The diverse crowd and participants in the ceremony were special. Meghan’s train embroidered with the national flower of every 53 nations in the commonwealth was a tear-jerker. Even the young 19-year-old cellist Meghan invited to play — rather than an older, more experienced musician — was a taste of the new world they want to foster together, a world where everyone is noticed and everyone is loved.
I was so moved. By their love for each other, their purpose for the world, and the hope stirred in me to see leadership with so much thoughtful compassion for others.
^ SEE?! Zoom in, we’re TOTALLY making eye contact! (“Hey, Elisabeth — so glad you could make it, girl! Catch us at the reception.”)
Between the castle, the white horses, the elegant dress, and oh yeah — the British monarchy — it was nothing short of a magical fairy tale — a real one lived out right in front of my eyes.
But you know what? I don’t think fairy tales and magic is left for just the royal. I’m not sure how exactly, but I can feel it in my gut that they’re made for us, too. Wherever you are in your love-journey, wait and fight for the fairy tale. I don’t think it’s superficial, I don’t think it’s effortless, I don’t think it’s make-believe. Much like Prince Harry and Meghan, who met through their common interest to help those less fortunate — I think fairy tales are deep and raw and meaningful.
As I was standing there on The Long Walk at Windsor Castle, hearing the actual trumpets blast after the Royal Wedding was over, I realized we must love ourselves enough to wait and fight for the fairytale. A relationship that gives us purpose, that betters other people’s lives, that feeds our own desires but answers others’ prayers as well. The world is big, and it’s hurting — and I wonder what it would look like if we all used our romance for good and justice. With a little (or a lot!) of magic sprinkled on top. (;